In Proverbs 6:20-22 Solomon tells children that God’s instruction is so significant they must make it part of their inner life. This truth is precious; it is to be displayed like fine jewelry. But the success of the instruction is noted in verse 22 when truth begins to protect those who have heard it.
Yes, commands must be taught. Yes, they must be valued and received. But things must not stop here. The process is not complete until what has been learned begins to work itself back to the outside world again. The process is not complete until the commands of God begin to show the fruit of protection in the lives of those who have been taught. Look carefully at verse 22:
When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
When God’s truth functions in children’s lives so that it begins to protect them then you can know the process is complete. You teach your child not to lie. You help him to see that lying damages relationships and displeases God. But you will know that your teaching has taken hold when your child tells you that he has realized how easy and wrong it is to lie to himself.
When God’s truth serves to protect your children when they walk along life’s edgy road, when they know the comfort of truth when they sleep, and when God’s word speaks to them in the face of temptations of daily life, truth has completed its mission. It has been presented, it has been internally embraced, and it has born fruit.
This is the truth that God wants you to give to your children. Don’t be satisfied just with having your children come quickly when they are called. Rather, your goal is to teach your children to protect themselves just as Joseph was protected by quickly obeying God when faced with the temptation of Potiphar’s wife.